Best bets for UFC Fight Night: Tsarukyan vs. Dariush
Austin, Texas hosts this week’s UFC Fight Night, a thirteen-bout slate beginning at 1 p.m. PT.
Favorites at UFC 295 marched to an 11-2-1 tally. Chalk this year in the UFC is 273-123-13 or 65.1%, down from last year’s 67% mark but higher than the 63 +/- benchmark we have been used to in previous years.
Three fight cards remain in 2023. It’s my belief that there are still a few live underdogs waiting to be uncovered between the slog of favorites that seem to dominate each card.
Arman Tsarukyan -275 vs. Beneil Dariush +230
Lightweight (155 pounds) main event
In southpaw and fourth-ranked Beneil Dariush, we have an understated, humble, everyday-appearing individual who looks more like your neighbor than the clean, calculated MMA assassin he is in a cage.
Dariush will be the taller, larger combatant on Saturday but he’ll also be the fighter seven years older, now competing at thirty-four years of age. Age, in my judgment, must come into the handicapping of this fight, but so too must the desperation by which Dariush arrives to this fight.
Dariush, a black belt in both BJJ and Muay Thai is coming off of his most dismal performance in his last outing, a complete dismantling at the hands of Charles Oliveira, and it’s his intention to capture back his top-three ranking by defeating this very capable Armenian foe in dynamic fashion or actually by any fashion possible.
On the other side of the cage will stand Arman Tsarukyan, a wrestling/grappling human lock wrench who applies unrelenting forward pressure but is somewhat singularly dimensioned as his striking and strike evasion are still in development/improvement stages.
Tsarukyan has been in the cage with elite competition since he arrived in the UFC and nearly defeated current champion Islam Makhachev in his debut fight!
While Tsarukyan’s wrestling/grappling are world-class, his unexciting fighting style encompasses constant clinching, groping, grappling, rolling and wrestling, while the UFC and its fans seek violent striking, lethal kicking and flamboyant strikers who finish.
Once this fight begins, Dariush’s experience, guile, well-rounded offensive abilities and focus will allow him to compete on par with the young Armenian lion, and it’s my belief that his window of opportunity is early in this fight.
As this bout enters the championship rounds, however, Tsarukyan’s pressure, gas tank, and youth may begin to usurp the early momentum from Dariush.
This fight more than likely takes place on the feet, but it’s my hope that we’ll be able to watch these two grapplers roll a bit.
Tsarukyan opened -180 and has been bet firmly to the current pricing of -275. Dariush who opened +115 and is currently +250 or better is out of whack in my opinion, but the way this line is rising, I’ll use patience and continue to monitor this bout. To me, this is Dariush or pass at this stage of the game.
Total in this fight: 3.5 Over -130
Drakkar Klose -120 vs. Joe Solecki +100
Lightweight (155 pounds)
Solecki is a wrestling-based mixed martial artist who does very little in spectacular fashion but does everything with a complete, calculated, patient approach. Solecki will want to close the distance in this fight and force his opponent to expend energy fending him off as opposed to stepping into him with combinations.
Training out of a small gym in North Carolina, it just so happens that Solecki trains now with a couple of members of his opponent’s former gym so he’ll be well prepared for his tussle with Klose.
In Klose, we get an athlete who a few years ago was knocking on the forehead of main event participant Beneil Dariush before he made a mental mistake and was finished. Since that bout, he’s competed little and has had to recover from a knee injury. Klose, a purple belt in BJJ is an effective striker and trains in a gym full of capable mixed martial artists, but they especially specialize in grappling/wrestling.
It would be a surprise to me if Solecki is able to execute an effective wrestling attack on Klose.
Usually, I would hold back on a fighter off of injury and time like this. In this instance, it’s Solecki who has only competed a couple of times since Klose has been out, and Klose has trained with fervor for this return.
Klose is aware that off injury, and now at age 35, he has one major run remaining. He’s looking to start it Saturday with an impressive display.
Pick: Klose -120 1u
Total in this fight: 2.5 Over -170
GambLou’s ‘Bout Business Podcast drops mid-day PT Friday across all podcast platforms.
Thank you for reading and enjoy the bouts!